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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Shell Energy


    Brisbane, Queensland

    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    20 December 2019

    End date

    30 September 2022

  • Project Partners
    Queensland Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning The Australian Industry Group
    This renewables project was completed on 30 September 2022.


The Advancing Renewables Manufacturing Sector project will help Queensland manufacturers improve their energy productivity, reduce emissions and drive sector improvements through energy assessments, a web-based portal, knowledge sharing and public forums.

Key results

ERM Power conducted energy assessments across twenty manufacturing sites in Queensland including 13 businesses predominantly using electricity and 7 sites with gas-based manufacturing processes. The assessments showed that:

  1. Manufacturing energy costs across Queensland can be reduced by $88m per year.
  2. Project participants can reduce their annual energy costs by an average of 27% with a collective capital investment of $29m.
  3. While manufacturing businesses are diverse in operation, scale and production plant used, 5 common opportunities are replicable across the different manufacturing sub-sectors and have attractive business cases: lighting, Variable Speed Drives (VSD), heat recovery, burner controls and compressed air.
  4. Only 10% of businesses assessed had solar installed, demonstrating a low rate of solar PV adoption, despite participants having good awareness of potential benefits (on-site renewable energy generation could reduce the grid energy consumption by about 9% with an average simple payback of 5 to 7 years).
  5. Eight potential electrification or decarbonisation of gas-based processes projects were identified across sites with gas-based manufacturing processes. Two large scale electrification projects had acceptable returns of less than 5 years of simple payback, without accounting for any potential price of emissions.

A web-based digital education platform was designed and built specifically for the manufacturing sector to remove information barriers, build energy skills and knowledge through the curation of a collection of relevant information, case studies and interactive tools.


The Advancing Renewables Manufacturing Sector project acknowledges that energy is a significant cost for most manufacturing businesses, contributing to up to 20% of operating expenses, excluding raw materials. Manufacturers have seen energy costs increase markedly in recent years from electricity and gas markets and network charges. They are also subject to highly variable energy demand charges. Manufacturers employing gas-based industrial processes are particularly vulnerable to gas availability and price volatility.

Low energy literacy and a lack of accessible and credible information represent significant barriers to manufacturers taking action on energy productivity initiatives, and impacts on their uptake of renewable energy solutions.


Shell Energy will carry out energy assessments across twenty Queensland manufacturing sites, including seven sites with gas-based manufacturing processes and thirteen with electricity-based manufacturing processes. The sites are in four regions – Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and South-East Queensland. The sites will include up to six manufacturing sub-sectors.

Each business selected for the trial will have an energy management plan designed for them by Shell Energy. The learnings will be fed into a web-based digital education platform designed specifically for the manufacturing sector.

Three energy productivity educational forums will be delivered in regional locations in Queensland. These will deliver educational information to assist other manufacturers reduce their emission footprints.


The outcomes will include:

  • identifying significant and replicable energy cost savings (minimum 20 per cent) through energy productivity improvements and adoption of renewable technologies
  • identifying sites suitable for the electrification of gas-based processes
  • collecting and sharing evidence (data, analysis and insight) to accelerate investment in the rollout of energy productivity improvements and renewables by manufacturing businesses in Queensland and nationally
  • removing information barriers through a web-based digital education platform to support the acceleration of renewable energy uptake by the manufacturing sector
  • building a network of advocates to catalyse further action and share information within Queensland manufacturing, to increase demand for energy productivity improvements and renewables
  • increasing energy skills, capacity and knowledge in developing and evaluating renewable energy projects, to increase renewable penetration that will be sustained beyond the project.

Additional impact

The energy productivity forums are intended to energise regional areas with practical advice to address their specific energy challenges. They will identify potential advocates who can act as champions to catalyse further action, and opportunities for peer to peer sharing to help increase demand for energy productivity improvements and renewable energy usage.

Last updated 30 November 2022
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